I can’t tell you how many of my clients suffer, they believe, from an inability to say the right thing in social or interpersonal situations. Standing among a group of strangers at a party, they can’t think of how to contribute to the conversation; caught in an elevator with a colleague, they stand awkwardly in silence watching the digital numbers of the floors pass; or running into an acquaintance who recently lost a loved one, “Sorry to hear about your loss” is the extent of what they can manage to mutter.
There are lots of good books out there on making conversation, sharpening one’s wit, and asking the right questions, so if you’d like to be a better conversationalist, by all means, feel free to read them. However, growing your talent for talk is so simple that you can begin doing it in an instant. Next time you’re called upon to connect with someone else, you need only ask yourself the following question: “If I were this other person, what would I most like to hear right now?”
A partygoer likes to be asked to say more about something they’ve said, the colleague in the elevator would love to be complimented (genuinely of course) on recent achievements ("I admire your work on . . . "), and the person in grief wants nothing more than to hear about a good memory you have of the person who’s passed. Conversation usually flows following these sorts of icebreaker communications, but should you have trouble finding words at any point in the ensuing exchange, simply ask yourself the question again: “If I were this other person, what would I most like to hear right now?” If you do, you’ll be able to tell yourself, I always know what to say.
You're reading the Bad Thoughts Blog, which maintains that feeling good is as simple as thinking a better thought. I'm Debbie Covino, hypnotherapist, coach, speaker, author, and creator of the All Day Hypnosis© series, available at www.hypnotic-wellbeing.com
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